'A Brief History of Fame' is about the dark side of fame, and about how quickly it fades. Maria Barnas (1973, Hoorn) responded to Van Gogh's letter from 19 February 1890.
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Van Gogh was never famous in his lifetime. He found it difficult to deal with words of praise from the art critic Albert Aurier, which reached him shortly before his death:
‘But when I read the article it made me almost sad as I thought: should be like this and I feel so inferior. And pride intoxicates like drink, when one is praised and has drunk one becomes sad’ (19 February 1890).
Paradoxically, we are in a museum dedicated entirely to Van Gogh, where he is celebrated as a hero.
Maria Barnas’s installation of ‘trophies’ that are dripping, melting or not entirely successful shows the flip side of heroism: it does not last forever.